Loop mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) is a DNA amplification technique that has played an increasingly important role in point-of-care (POC) diagnostics. It offers several advantages over qPCR and other amplification techniques in terms of sample-to-answer time, sensitivity, specificity, cost, robustness, and accessibility, making it ideal for field-deployable diagnostics in resource-limited regions. LAMP based assays have been used for numerous applications including the detection of pathogens such as salmonella and malaria, GM crop contamination and in forensics to specifically detect human DNA.
LAMP uses four to six primers that recognize several specific regions in the target DNA. The reaction is initiated by a strand-displacement polymerase such as Bst and two specially designed primers which form loop structures to facilitate subsequent rounds of amplification producing high levels of DNA. LAMP reactions are very robust and inhibitor-tolerant, producing extremely large amounts of DNA that can be visualized by the eye (e.g. as a precipitate or color change). Specifically, 1 to 10 copies of DNA can be amplified to 109 to 1010 copies within 30 minutes, producing assays with excellent sensitivity and specificity.